Level: intermediate

We use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is true in the present:

They live next door to us.
He works for the Post Office.

  • something that happens regularly in the present:

The children come home from school at about four.
We often see your brother at work.

  • something that is always true:

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
The Nile is the longest river in Africa.

We use the present continuous to talk about:

  • something happening at the moment of speaking:

I can't hear you. I'm listening to a podcast.
Please be quiet. The children are sleeping.

  • something happening regularly in the present before and after a specific time:

I'm usually having breakfast at this time in the morning.
When I see George he's usually reading his Kindle.

  • something in the present which we think is temporary:

Michael is at university. He's studying history.
I love Harry Potter. I'm reading the last book.

  • something which is new and contrasts with a previous state:

Nowadays people are sending text messages instead of phoning.
I hear you've moved house. Where are you living now?

  • something which is changing, growing or developing:

The weather is getting colder.
Our grandchildren are growing up quickly.

  • something which happens again and again:

It's always raining in London.
They are always arguing.
George is great. He's always laughing.

Note that we normally use always with this use.

We use modal verbs:

I don't know where Henry is. He might be playing tennis.
'Who's knocking at the door?' – 'I don't know. It could be the police.'

I can speak English quite well but I can't speak French at all.
You should do your homework before you go out. 

Present simple and present continuous 1

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Present simple and present continuous 2

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Present simple and present continuous 3

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Comments

Hello bimsara,

We would use the present perfect in the sentence you suggest, provided the two people still know one another:

We have known each other for long time.

If, on the other hand, they no longer know each other (because they, for example, lost contact with each other long ago), then we would use a past form:

We knew each other for long time.

We would not use a present form with this construction as this use of 'for' by definition involves a non-present time reference.

With this meaning, 'yet' can also be used with past perfect forms.  As with the present perfect, it is used with a negative verb:

I called, but he hadn't arrived yet.

We do not use 'yet' with future perfect forms ('will have').  Instead we use 'by then', and can use this with positive or negative verbs:

I will have finished the job by then.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Could we use 'for' with past perfect and past perfect continuous?.As examples,

We had known each other for long time.
I had been sitting there for hours.

Thank you.

Hello bimsara,

Yes, it's perfectly fine to use 'for' with those verb forms.  In fact, it's very common to use it with perfect verb forms, whether present perfect, past perfect or future perfect (will have).  You should, though, remember the article in the phrase 'a long time'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
"My wife usually goes in to the office, but she is working at home today."
I am confused about why "goes into the office" is used instead of "goes to the office".
Thank you.

Hello mangeshnik,

We often use the phrases 'go into work' or 'go into the office' with the same meaning as 'go to work' or 'go to the office'.  In this context either of the forms you suggest would be acceptable.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Thank you very much for your reply.
English is a very wonderful language.
I feel very happy and lucky that I came across this website.
Thank you once again.

HELLO,
What tips would you give to any students thinking of coming to study in the UK
 
Can we write that above mentioned sentence in these ways and is the meaning same?

  1. What tips would you give to any students who think of coming to study in UK.
  2. What tips would you give to any students thinking to come to study in the UK
  3. What tips would you give to any students thinking of coming and studying in the UK.

And also there is no relative pronoun in original sentence.It is the subject of the relative clause.I have learned that if the relative pronoun is the subject of a clause we cant omit that.Can you explain these things?
 
Thank you.

Hello bimsara,

No, none of those sentences are correct.  The correct versions would be:

1. What tips would you give to any students who are thinking of coming to study in UK.
2. What tips would you give to any students thinking of coming to study in the UK. [the same as the original]
3. What tips would you give to any students thinking of coming to and studying in the UK.

The reason there is no relative pronoun in the first sentence is not that the relative pronoun is missed out - if that was the case then the sentence would have '...any students are thinking of...' - but that it is a participle clause or a reduced relative clause.  In other words, it is not jus the relative pronoun which is missed out but everything up to the -ing form.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

In explanation 3 you mention ' if that was the case ' : what difference would it make if we say ' if that were the case '

Hello dipakrgandhi,

There is no difference in meaning. After 'if' in hypothetical constructions of this kind we can use either 'was' or 'were'.

If I was a rich man...

If I were a rich man...

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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